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McLaren driver Jenson Button of Britain controls his car on turn five during the second practice session at Albert Park ahead of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, March 14, 2014. Hamilton clocked the fastest time ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in Saturday's pre-qualifying practice session for the season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix, well clear of his rivals.

Rosberg was 1.4 seconds faster than the next-best driver, Jenson Button of McLaren, around the Albert Park street circuit.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third fastest, narrowly ahead of Rosberg's teammate Lewis Hamilton, while four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was down in 12th place, 2.8 seconds off the pace and complaining on his radio about his car's "drivability."

Despite dark clouds around Melbourne, rain held off for the practice session but was forecast to arrive later Saturday and may affect qualifying.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rosberg fastest in F1 Australian GP practice Rosberg fastest in F1 Australian GP practice
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